Academy Awards hosts: A look back at the hits and misses

Oscars host Seth MacFarlane Credit: Reuters
Oscars host Seth MacFarlane
Credit: Reuters

The day after the Academy Awards is reserved for deep analysis of the previous night. The first thing most viewers analyze is the host.

This year, Seth MacFarlane, creator of “Family Guy,” took on the responsibility of entertaining the audience. It seems like MacFarlane fell flat.

The night consisted of a series of sexist, rude and racist jokes. Misogyny aside, what was up with the “We Saw Your Boobs” number?

MacFarlane’s jokes crossed the line a number of times include when he brought up the prospect of George Clooney getting with 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, a domestic violence “joke” about Chris Brown and Rihanna, and claiming the actresses conveniently got the flu a few weeks ago to fit into their dresses.

We don’t doubt that hosting the Oscars is difficult. If you can’t always be funny, at least be tasteful. If that also fails, give Tina Fey and Amy Poehler a call. They know how to get the job done.

Here’s a look back at the hit and misses of the past few years.

2012: Billy Crystal

In 2012, Billy Crystal returned to host the Academy Awards for the ninth time, though it was his first in eight years.

Crystal’s gig was well received as he returned to formula that’s worked for him before: a witty opening monologue, a song-and-dance number, and an array of jokes that were hitting, but never too harsh.

What also helped Crystal succeed was the help he received from pals such as George Clooney, Tom Cruise and Justin Bieber, who promised him the 18-24 demographic.

2011: Anne Hathaway and James Franco

Disaster, disaster, disaster. Did we mention this was a complete disaster?

The Orlando Sentinel called the show a “disaster,” USA Today said the “pleasure diminished as the night progressed,” and others called it “boring,” “produced horribly,” and “spectacularly bad.”

“Franco seemed distant, uninterested and content to keep his Cheshire-cat-meets-smug smile on display throughout,” THR reported. Some also wondered whether Franco was stoned throughout the whole thing.

Hathaway tried to overcompensate for Franco’s extreme lack of interest but her intensity did not come off well.

2010: Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin

Does anyone even remember these two as hosts? We barely do. Them two together weren’t necessarily a disaster to the level of Anne Hathaway and James Franco, but they also were not memorable. Maybe that says enough.

2009: Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman can just flash a smile and it’s deemed perfect. Jackman’s performance was a good one. It included song, dance and a whole lot of pep.

Given his amazing performance of a Les Mis song during the 2013 Oscars, we’d love to see him back as a host.

2008: Jon Stewart

If there’s someone the Academy should bring back to the Kodak Theater, it’s Jon Stewart.

The “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” host sparked at the Oscars in 2008. He was sharp, witty and on point. He was Jon Stewart.

2008 was an election year, so Stewart fell right at home with make political jokes. It was the 80th Academy Awards and Stewart joked that Oscar should be the presidential nominee for the Republican Party.

There were a few awkward moments with pre-recorded segments in 2008. The Oscars aired right as the writers’ strike ended.

 

Follow Mary Ann Georgantopoulos on Twitter @marygeorgant

 


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